Painting A Still Life

An excellent example of still life is the wine bottle with two saucepans. Many similar subjects are easy to arrange. The same procedure should be followed in reducing the subject to simple tone planes (fig. 246). Ignore at first the textures of the shiny and dull surfaces and consider only the arrangement of tone masses of varying shapes and degrees of light and darkness. When dealing with the shiny lights on the bottle and saucepan lid, flick them on with a well-loaded brush. Practice this light touch forgetting the shape of the marks for a moment. They can be trimmed up afterwards by cutting them off with the surrounding tone (fig. 247). In painting, do far more with your head and less with the brush at the start. Remember, you are handling a tool for the first time. Take it slowly at the beginning. You will make greater progress.

Painting From Life In Two Colon

A head provides a good subject for two-color work, which is the next step in learning to paint. If you can do this, you will have mastered the fundamentals of the craft and can apply them to figures, landscapes and larger compositions. In the following demonstration, keep in mind the lesson in tone values given in the section on painting a horse's head-These are the pigments needed for flesh painting:

(1) ;White.

(2) ;Cold black (ivory black).

(3) ;Warm black (lampblack).

(4) ;Yellow ochre.

(5) ;Indian red.

(6) ;Red (a mixture of Indian red and bu-nt sienna). When the instructions call for "red" in the following lesson, it is this mixture which is indicated.

Pose the model for your painting with the same care used on the still life. Examine the head from a number of angles until you find the most interesting one. Then move the model around in relation to the light source. Lighting can change the whole character of the head; it can soften and round the features or throw them into sharp relief. Used with imagination, it will be one of the most expressive elements in the picture.

Life In Two Colon

Figure 245.

First Stage (fig. 248). Sketch the outline of the head on your canvas in charcoal. Indicate lightly the placing of the main features. Do not attempt a finished drawing; this is only a guide which will soon be painted over. Rub in the background thinly in a medium tone of gray (warm black and white). Its tone should be somewhere between the lightest and darkest values of the head itself. Do not leave a hard edge where it comes against the head. Paint the forehead in a light middle tone (red and white with a slight touch of cold black). Now fill in the frontal plane of the face below the forehead (red, white and a little more cold black than used above). Note that this plane is divided from the sides of the face along a line which runs around the outside of tin-eye socket, circuits the cheekbone and curves around the mouth to about the middle of the jaw bone. Paint the sides of the face and the neck in a darker tone (warm black, yellow ochre and white). Paint the shadow cast by the jaw directly over this tone (red and warm black). Put in the eye sockets (yellow ochre, warm black and white). A darker shade of the same mixture with more yellow ochre added can be used for the more shadowed parts.

Simple Tone Planes

Figure 246.

Second Stage (fig. 249). Work lighter tones into the corner of the eye and on the center of the cheekbones (red and white). Lighten the area where the mouth is to be (cold black, white and a very little red). Introduce a darker tone under the cheekbone (red and white toward the front; yellow ochre and warm black toward the ear). Paint the nose in a warmer tone than the cheeks (red, white and a touch of warm black). The dark half tone at the tip of the nose and the nose's shadow on the upper lip are cooler in color. The half tone at the wing of the nostril is much warmer (red, yellow ochre, white and a very little black). Xow do the ear, noting the undercurrent of warm color that always runs through it (yellow ochre, red and white with a darker tone of the same colors at the top). At this point, establish the lightest tone of the whole picture, the one from which all other lights will be judged, by brushing in the highlight on the forehead (white, yellow ochre and cold black). Some work around the eyes comes next. Concentrate on the edges of the sockets. Note that there is only one fixed point of light in the eyes themselves and that another prominent light lies on the checks just below them. The eyebrows are colder along their edges than in the center. Do the edges first (cold black, yellow ochre and a little white). Carry the modeling of the nose a little further, bring out the differences in tone of the bridge, the side and the darker tip between the nostrils. Paint in the mouth lightly, making the lower lip lighter than the upper (Indian red and a little white). Do the shadow beneath the under lip (yellow ochre and warm black). Brush the highlight of the chin and the corners of the mouth into the colder tone already there (red and whitej. Throughout the second stage, put your efforts into refining the edges of features and planes and the contours of the whole head. It can be done well only when the paint is still wet.

Surrounding Tone

Figure 247.